Humber Valley Resort is the second-best course on the East Coast—Stanley Thompson’s Highlands Links
in Cape Breton is almost mythic in its stature, so it’s not going to be supplanted anytime soon. While the $110 green fee is a little steep, it pales in comparison to the cost of camera equipment you’ll want to bring along, for there might be more photo-ops here than any other course in Canada. It peaks midway through your round at the 458-yard 10th, a distance offset by the fact that you stand 180 feet above the fairway on a hole that rivals Greywolf’s
sixth-hole in Panorama, B.C., Devil’s Cauldron, the par-3 fourth at Banff Springs
, Glen Abbey’s
11th in Oakville, Ontario, and Bigwin Island’s
18th in Lake of Bays, Ontario as Canada’s most breathtaking tee shot. The course plunges downward for the first four holes before arriving at arguably the best hole on the course, the gripping 232-yard par-3 fifth—over a stretch of water and beach. Architect Doug Carrick, however, reminds you that you’ve had it relatively easy to this point by pointing you into the teeth of the prevailing wind as you begin the ascent back up the hill into a par-4 and par-5 that play as though they’re 500 and 625 yards respectively, even though it reads a lot less than that on the scorecard. The bunkering is elegant and strategically placed, though a bit penal in spots for a resort destination. A few less sand traps in places would also have given some of the holes a little more individuality, and the green speeds will not be consistently slick until they’ve grown in for another season, but it’s hard to find fault here.